Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Gillellus healae, Masked Stargazer

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7 bars, often pale-centered
D XI-XV, 27-29
lower lip flaps 4
A 31-33
straight LL 23-25

Gillellus healae Dawson, 1982

Masked Stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head moderate sized; eyes on top of head, not on stalks, with a circlet of flaps at its tip; mouth upturned, with a protruding lower jaw, 4 conical skin flaps at front of lower lip, none on top lip; upper part of operculum with a frill of skin flaps; dorsal fin in 2 sections, 1st section a finlet of III spines with origin on nape, sometimes 1-2 free spines behind this, then main fin, XI-XIII spines, 27-29 soft rays; 31-33 soft anal rays; lateral line bends down just behind spiny section of dorsal fin; pelvic fins inserted under throat, each with I, 3, rays thickened and free at the tips; scales large, smooth; 22-23 scales on arched section of lateral line, 23-25 on straight part; head and underbelly behind pelvic fins scaleless.

Pale, a dark bar between eyes and extending down below them; with or without 7 major dark bars on upper body, from nape to tail fin base, those bars often pale centered, with narrow dark margins, bars usually equal to or narrower than interspaces, but sometimes wider at center of body; some fish with incomplete secondary bars between the major bars.

Reaches 6.3 cm.

Lives in sand bottoms.

Depth range: 21-75 m.

S Carolina to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6.3
Depth Range Min
  • 21
Depth Range Max
  • 75